Consumers first rather than mobile first
The buzzword in India or let’s say it across the world is mobile. While businesses hurriedly develop digital strategies and think mobile first, are they shifting the focus from the only thing that matters – customers?
We’re surrounded by some of the most exciting technology the world has ever seen; we’ve got contactless payments, robotic assistants, mobile ticketing, 3D printing and numerous other developments. It feels like whatever we need there is an app for it, and together it’s changing how we behave in profound ways.
But it all feels removed from what people actually want. We’ve a thousand companies trying to rush out wearable devices before Apple, enthusiasm undiminished by a total lack of consumer interest. It feels like the only things 3D printers can’t print is a reason to have one. Personal drones still seem like the product of an enthusiastic scientist who doesn’t get out much. I find virtual reality (VR) interesting, but real reality is pretty good too. For all the technology in the world we’ve very little empathy. We’ve businesses doing what it wants to do, rather than giving people what they need in their lives. I’m sure if electronics companies listened, they’d find people wanted better designed remote controls, better ways to discover content and menus that made sense, not a 4K curved and bendable screen.
Without exception, the companies that thrive in the current environment are those that focus entirely on what people want. They don’t obsess over technology, but find a way for it to solve people’s problems. They’ve arranged themselves not how they want to, but how it best serves customers. Uber isn’t a technology company. It’s a company that realised that the entire taxi industry was built around it’s needs and not what people wanted.
Amazon isn’t the cheapest way to buy most things, but they knew that removing barriers to the purchase process was the simple way to become the default way to order anything online. Apple’s success is primarily based on finding a way to create electronics that do roughly the same things as other products, but make using them feel great. It’s a simple recipe.
We’re living in disruptive times. We’ve an abundance of energy, money and focus on how technology can improve every aspect of a business, but it’s often still arranged around business needs. Technology should solve problems first. It’s a common problem. There are retailers across the world who must be armed with incredible insights about how people shop, why they buy, what the purchase funnel is, yet seem to hand over site development to teams who seemingly know nothing about retail. The end product is identical and effectively a content management system with nice photos, why hasn’t anyone made a e-commerce site a joy to use?
What if technology was used to solve problems first and create better products? Nowadays a good product is the best advertising, let’s bring technology and empathy together to surprise and delight our customers, not do things because they simply can be done.